EMA award nominees announced

Expanded awards from Entertainment Merchants Association give nods to Gears of War, God of War 2, Guitar Hero II, WOW.

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Just when Epic Games thought its trophy case was stuffed with enough honors for its Xbox 360 shooter Gears of War, along comes another awards show with four more nominations for the game. The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) has released its candidates for various industry awards, and due to different qualification deadlines, Gears has some new competition in the prized Video Game of the Year category.

Unlike recent year-end award shows--such as the Spike TV Video Game Awards or the D.I.C.E. Awards--the 2007 EMA awards accepts games that were released between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007. The extra months allow a few new contenders to be considered against mainstays of last year's awards shows.

The five finalists for Video Game of the Year are Gears of War, Guitar Hero II, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, God of War 2, and "World of Warcraft," which is presumably the game's expansion, January's The Burning Crusade.

While God of War 2 and The Burning Crusade are new to the awards circuit, one game that was old hat at last year's awards shows was a no-show. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, released on March 20, 2006, on the PC and Xbox 360, just missed the cutoff date for eligibility. The PlayStation 3 edition of the game, released last month, was eligible for an award but failed to net a nomination.

Nintendo led all publishers with 14 nominations, followed by Electronic Arts with nine. For fanboys keeping score at home, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment America tied at five apiece. Gears of War, Madden NFL 07, and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy each grabbed four nominations to lead all games.

The EMA did not explain its nomination system, and apparently didn't require a set number of candidates for each category. While most awards had five nominations, a few had only four and the PC Game of the Year category had only two: The Burning Crusade and Cars.

This year the EMA chose to blow out its video game awards, going from just three categories last year to 18 this year, including several platforms and genres this time around. The winners will be announced at EMA's Video Game Retailers' Council Event on May 22.

Video Game of the Year
Gears of War
God of War 2
Guitar Hero II
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Xbox 360 Game of the Year
Call of Duty 3
Dead Rising
Gears of War
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas

PS3 Game of the Year
Call of Duty 3
Madden NFL 07
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
MotorStorm
Resistance: Fall of Man

Wii Game of the Year
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Rayman: Raving Rabbids
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
WarioWare: Smooth Moves

PC Game of the Year
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Cars

PS2 Game of the Year
Final Fantasy XII
God of War 2
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Madden NFL 07
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007

DS Game of the Year
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day
Final Fantasy III
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
New Super Mario Bros.
Yoshi's Island

PSP Game of the Year
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Madden NFL 07
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2
Tekken: Dark Resurrection

Action/Adventure Game of the Year
Dead Rising
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
New Super Mario Bros.

Casual Game of the Year
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day
Guitar Hero II
Karaoke Revolution: American Idol
Viva Piñata
Wii Sports

Family/Children's Game of the Year
Cars
Happy Feet
Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island
Thrillville
WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Fighting Game of the Year
Def Jam: Icon
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007

Racing Game of the Year
Diddy Kong Racing
Excite Truck
MotorStorm
Need for Speed Carbon
Test Drive Unlimited

RPG/Strategy Game of the Year
Final Fantasy XII
Hitman: Blood Money
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Shooter/Military Game of the Year
Call of Duty 3
Gears of War
Resistance: Fall of Man
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent

Sports Game of the Year
Madden NFL 07
NBA 2K7
NCAA Football 07
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Tony Hawk's Project 8

Best Game Graphics of the Year
Dead Rising
Gears of War
Need for Speed Carbon
Resistance: Fall of Man
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas

Innovative Game of the Year
Cooking Mama
Dead Rising
Guitar Hero II
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Wii Sports

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